Mexico's Drug War

El Chapo Complaining About Bullying and Sleepless Nights in Prison

Given Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán’s talent for escaping repeatedly from maximum security prisons, several extra measures are being taken to keep him in place until his extradition to the U.S. However, now Guzmán is complaining that he’s not sleeping and guards are engaging in cruel behavior directed at him.

El Chapo Mugshots

Murders on the Rise in Mexico

For the first time in four years, Mexico saw an 8.7 percent increase in the murder rate, according to government sources. There was also a coinciding claim of a decline in kidnapping and extortion, perhaps indicating that criminal groups are once again shifting their tactics.

Body Bags with Corpses

Miami Tops List for El Chapo Trial Venues

As half a dozen legal districts compete for who will get to try notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán after his extradition to the U.S., the City of Miami, Florida has emerged as a top contender.

Miami Courthouse

Marijuana Legalization in U.S. Cuts Mexican Pot Profits by 70 Percent

As marijuana legalization in states like Colorado and Washington continues, marijuana farmers in Mexico are starting to see a steep decline in the profits their crops once fetched. Some growers report they’re seeing a decline in income as high as 70 percent, and they blame the popularity of higher quality legal marijuana in the U.S.

Marijuana Legalization

Arizona Border Tunnel Collapses Under Weight of Tourist Bus

Mexican officials notified US Customs and Border Protection on December 30 that a four-foot section of a cross-border drug tunnel collapsed near the Nogales, Arizona port of entry. The tunnel was discovered in mid-November and efforts had not yet begun to fill the tunnel with concrete.

Border Tunnel

US Reducing Mexico Aid Amid Human Rights Abuse Concerns

As allegations of human rights abuses reportedly committed by police and military forces have persisted in Mexico, the U.S. has started to withhold aid payments. For many years, the U.S. has been providing security aid to Mexico, much of it through the Mérida Initiative as a way to counter the efforts of violent drug cartels.

AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

Miami Reemerging as Trafficking Hub for Colombian Cocaine

Recent drug seizures and indictments indicate that Miami is back on the map as a trafficking hub for cocaine passing through Caribbean waters. After the fall of the Cali and Medellín drug cartels in Colombia, both the Florida Straits and the streets of south Florida quieted down dramatically.

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Mexican Aircraft Fired Upon by Drug Traffickers Near El Chapo’s Hometown

A major gunfight occurred on December 26 between elements of the Mexican navy and drug traffickers in Sinaloa cartel kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s hometown of Badiraguato, Sinaloa state. Some reports indicate military aircraft sustained minor damage, but two cartel attackers were killed and firearms, ammunition, and four and a half tons of marijuana were seized.

drug traffickers fired upon military helicopters

Money Laundering Network Between Colombian and Mexican Cartels Disrupted

The drug trafficking ties between Colombia and Mexico go back decades, to when Colombian cartels started supplying Mexican drug runners with cocaine in the late 1970s. Those ties have since strengthened, and the recent discovery of a money laundering network between the two countries’ more powerful cartels is evidence of this.

Money Laundering Network

Two Arrested in Spain for Allegedly Buying Military-Grade Weapons for Mexican Cartels

Two alleged gun-runners were arrested in Spain on charges of buying military-grade weapons for drug cartels in Mexico. The controversy over how high-powered weapons get into the hands of Mexican drug cartels has been raging for years. US suppliers are often in the cross-hairs, so the recent arrest of individuals buying military-grade weapons for the cartels in Spain put a twist on perceptions of weapons trafficking to Mexico.

military-grade weapons

Media Jump on El Chapo-ISIS Bandwagon Again

A blog about Mexican drug cartels reported on December 7 about a leaked encrypted email supposedly sent by notorious Sinaloa cartel kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán to prominent Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. In the email, Guzmán allegedly threatens to retaliate against ISIS for destroying drug shipments and interfering in cartel business. Despite numerous mainstream media outlets reporting this “story” on December 10, the sole unverified source for this information is an unidentified Mexican blogger.

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Mexican Drug Cartels Fighting Escalates over Supposed ‘Conflict Free’ Gold Money

Many Americans are familiar with the term “blood diamond” or “conflict diamond,” which defines a diamond mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency, an invading army’s war efforts, or a warlord’s activity—most commonly in Africa. Less commonly known; however, is “conflict gold.” Violent Mexican drug cartels are now fighting over revenues being paid to poor communities by corporations mining gold in areas of Mexico they have turned into war zones.

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Prison Gangs with Cartel Ties Hang Corpses in Mexico City

Despite Mexico City’s enormous population and opportunities for criminal organizations, it has remained a relative neutral ground for drug cartels. But that image was shattered when drivers discovered a corpse hanging from a Mexico City bridge—a telltale sign that the capital’s peace may be about to shatter.

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Mexico Supreme Court Decision Paves Way for Marijuana Legalization

On November 4, Mexico’s Supreme Court made a landmark—and highly controversial—decision, declaring that individuals should have the right to grow and distribute marijuana for their personal use. The ruling applies only to a single cannabis club that filed the suit, but may have initiated a domino effect that will pave the way for eventual marijuana legalization.

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Sinaloa Cartel Linked to Colombian Terrorist Group in Panama

It has long been known that Colombian terrorists produce roughly half of the cocaine that enters Mexico en route to the US. Panamanian authorities have recently revealed that the Sinaloa Cartel has had a direct presence in Panama for years—including most-wanted kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán himself.

Panama Drugs

Mexican Energy Boomtown Residents Flee, Blame Government for Violence

When the Mexican government announced the deregulation of its energy sector, many in the industry anticipated a rush to exploit Mexico’s rich hydrocarbon and gas deposits. People living in the Mexican energy boomtown in the Juárez Valley southeast of Ciudad Juárez and El Paso, Texas, allege that land speculators preparing for the start of oil and gas production have spurred a land grab that has forced what some claim is an exodus of local residents.

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